Prairie rockers Rah Rah kick off their latest album with a wistful display of meta-musicianship, recalling tour vans and beer cans before they announce, “Now I just want a life / full of art and a wife.” With every subsequent song, however, that wish to trade in rock ’n’ roll for a quiet life becomes harder and harder to believe.
The Poet’s Dead, the Regina sextet’s third full-length, is the band at its best. It’s filled with natural hooks, a charming lightness and Stars-like vocal interplay (almost everyone in the band sings), and moves along effortlessly. Whether it’s the straightforward pop rock of “Prairie Girl,” the grandiose, swirling synthetic layers of “20s” or the rootsy, Wilco-like alt-folk of “Fake Our Love,” the album’s 10 tracks comprise an entertaining sonic variety—even if half of them seem to be about making music and getting older. Of course, maturing has its perks.
The Poet’s Dead feels better planned out and more refined than the group’s first two records, and possesses the confidence of a band that’s mastered its craft. Fans will no doubt be pleased—that is, as long as these twentysomethings don’t make good on their lyrics and actually settle down.
Playlist picks “Art & a Wife,” “Prairie Girl,” “20s,” “Fake Our Love”